Guardsman Fighting Cancer, DOMA Featured in Documentary Project
For immediate release:
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Contact: Zeke Stokes at
202-621-5406 or email@example.com
CW2 Charlie Morgan's Fight for Full Military Benefits While Battling Cancer is Focus of Latest “Legal Stranger Project” Video
(WASHINGTON DC) Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Charlie Morgan, her wife, Karen, and their daughter, Casey Elena, are the focus of the latest video release by The Legal Stranger Project, an award-winning multimedia documentary which follows the stories of same-sex couples who have been personally impacted by the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Morgan - who is battling incurable stage-four breast cancer - recently returned from a deployment to the Middle East. Should she not survive this battle for her health, her wife would not receive the survivors' benefits she desperately needs to take care of their now five-year-old daughter.
“Before I started the Legal Stranger Project almost three years ago, I was unaware of the 1,138 rights and benefits associated with marriage and the disparities encountered by same-sex couples under the Defense of Marriage Act. Charlie’s story, among others, reveals the complexity of DOMA and its effects on same-sex families,” said Amanda Lucidon, the producer and director of the project.
The Morgan’s are plaintiffs represented by SLDN in a lawsuit brought in October 2011 challenging DOMA and other federal statutes that prevent the military from providing equal recognition and support to same-sex military spouses. Currently, the Morgan’s do not receive the same protections as their straight, married peers, and Karen would not be entitled to survivor's benefits upon CW2 Morgan's death.
"In 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy and several rounds of chemotherapy to save my life. In 2010 - declared cancer free by my oncologist - I was deployed to Kuwait for one year in support of Operation New Dawn. I faithfully fulfilled my duty and returned home to my wife and our then four-year old daughter. But about a year ago, we learned the awful truth that my cancer has returned. It is metastatic and incurable. We don't know how long I have," CW2 Morgan has said.
CW2 Morgan, a member of the New Hampshire National Guard, drew national support in February when she visited Capitol Hill to meet with the staff of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), tell her personal story, and share how the Speaker's ongoing legal defense of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) via the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) harms her family. There, she detailed her battle with incurable stage-four breast cancer and asked the Speaker to drop his legal defense of DOMA. Boehner has ignored her pleas and continues to defend the discriminatory law in court.
"It's unfathomable to me how anyone could look at the Morgan family and not be moved by this story and see how they're being treated unfairly. Here's a service member, who has risked her life for our nation overseas and now is fighting for her life here at home. She shouldn't be forced also to fight for her family to be recognized, respected, and provided the same support as any of her peers would receive. It's time to end the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and treat all service members as first-class Americans," said Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.
The Morgan’s also appeared before the Democratic National Convention’s platform committee earlier this year to tell their story.
To view the video: http://legalstranger.com/in-sickness-and-in-health/
ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. Since 1993, our in-house legal team has responded to more than 11,500 requests for assistance. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: Call 1-800-538-7418 or 202-328-3244 x100. For more information, visit www.sldn.org.
ABOUT THE LEGAL STRANGER PROJECT: Using a variety of media – film, video, still photographs written journals and interactive conversations – The Legal Stranger Project conveys the great disparities in parental rights, immigration status, inheritance, health care, survivor benefits and other rights arising from DOMA, through personal stories that producer/director Amanda Lucidon, co-producer Scott Anger and their team are continuing to collect and showcase through the website and an in-production documentary film. Operating on a start-up shoestring budget, The Legal Stranger Project is raising funds through a variety of innovative sources including tax-deductible donations on the project website and a crowd-funding campaign conducted earlier this year.